Archive for the ‘FreeDumb®’ Category

Kinda busy right now

August 9, 2017

The Acme® DIY Bomb Shelter.

Something wicked this way comes

January 19, 2017

• Editor’s note: What follows was intended to be a rambling kickoff to a Counter-Inaugural Podcast at Radio Free Dogpatch, but my sidekick Hal Walter developed a bad case of previous commitments, so I’m laying it on you old-school instead. Tomorrow it will be radio silence from yours truly here and on Twitter. But there will be an open-mic post suitable for commentary, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts on what this particular changing of the guard means for you, and for the rest of us. Finally, a tip of the carny’s boater to Ray Bradbury for the headline. It’s a pity — or is it? — that he didn’t live to see Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show come to life.

We're all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

We’re all bozos on this bus. Some of us more than others.

IT’S BEEN A STRUGGLE, TRYING TO FIND WORDS to describe how I feel about what’s going to be happening on Friday — and afterward — in Washington, D.C.

I’ve watched this changing of the guard since before I was eligible to vote, and it rarely goes well for progressives.

In 1969, when Richard Nixon was preparing to take an oath of office he had already violated by undermining the Paris peace talks, the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam staged a three-day counter-inaugural that proved quite the bash, both literally and figuratively.

Yippies Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman brought a revolutionary-theater sideshow to the circus, proposing to inaugurate their own president, a 145-pound hog named Pigasus, with predictable results. The Left immediately set about eating itself alive — Splitters! — rocks, bottles, horseshit and punches were thrown, cops and protesters alike took a beating, 119 people got a tour of the hoosegow, and as is traditional in such matters, both sides claimed victory.

Nixon, of course, claimed the White House. Twice. You may recall how that turned out.

I found it all fascinating, from a safe distance, and when I became eligible to vote in time for the 1972 elections, I tried to register as a member of the Youth International Party, the proper name for the improper Yippies. Never happen, said the county clerk in Bibleburg, and I had to settle for signing up as an “independent.” But Hunter S. Thompson was actually in attendance at the ’69 inaugural, and he didn’t exactly come away with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart.

Recounting the experience for The Boston Globe in February 1969, Thompson wrote: “My first idea was to load up on LSD and cover the Inauguration that way, but the possibilities were ominous: a scene that bad could only be compounded to the realm of mega-horrors by something as powerful as acid.”

As Thompson watched the deal go down during what he called “a king-hell bummer” and “that wretched weekend,” he saw “a new meanness on both sides … and no more humor.”

“Suddenly I felt cold, and vaguely defeated,” he wrote. “More than eight years ago, in San Francisco, I had stayed up all night to watch the election returns … and when Nixon went down I felt like a winner.

“Now, on this Monday night in 1969, President Nixon was being honored with no less than six Inaugural Balls. I brooded on this for a while, then decided I would go over to the Hilton, later on, and punch somebody. Almost anybody would do … but hopefully I could find a police chief from Nashville or some other mean geek. In the meantime, there was nothing to do but go back to the hotel and watch the news on TV … maybe something funny, like film clips of the bastinado.”

• • •

Neither Hunter S. Thompson nor Dick Nixon are with us this time around, but another pair of Sixties relics you may have thought were likewise long gone — LSD and psilocybin — are making something of a comeback as potential treatments for whatever bad scene may be unfolding on the backside of your forehead (or in front of it).

In December, The New York Times reported on a couple of studies that showed “clinically significant reductions” in both anxiety and depression in cancer patients who took synthetic psilocybin.

The studies, which the Times called “the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the possible therapeutic benefit of psilocybin,” found the beneficial effects persisted for months.

One patient, who had just completed treatment for stage-3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, described what he called “an epiphany.”

“I’m not anxious about cancer anymore,” he said. “I’m not anxious about dying.”

Another, whose treatment for acute myeloid leukemia left him with graft-versus-host disease, said the experience left him with “a greater sense of peace with what might come.”

“I’m very grateful, beyond words, for this trial,” he added.

And on January 14, The Atlantic ran a Q&A with Ayelet Waldman, whose new book “A Really Good Day” describes her microdosing with LSD to self-correct what she described as “a pretty significant depression.”

She had tried the traditional remedies served up by the medical-industrial complex — antidepressants, ADHD drugs, SSRIs, you name it — but a couple drops of diluted and highly illegal L-S-Dizzy is what did the trick for her.

Said Waldman: “I felt happier or at least not as profoundly depressed almost immediately the very first day I took it.”

Funniest thing, hey? About 10 years after the good Doctor Thompson was mulling over that Nixon inaugural, a friend and I offered an acid-soaked homage to his fear-and-loathing tour of Las Vegas. But we didn’t have his stamina, and when a jai-alai match at the old MGM Grand started to look like a “Star Wars” shootout we got the fuck out of there at a very high speed indeed, driving all the way back to Alamosa — the Brain Damage Express, via Kaibab and Page, the Four Corners and the terrifying Wolf Creek Pass, with the usual horrible weather and without the enhancements that were still a few years down the road.

But we sure as shit weren’t depressed. We were simply seeing a whole lot of things we’d rather not have and thought a case of beer, a long night’s drive and a plate of his mom’s enchiladas might mellow us out.

Forty years later I can make my own enchiladas but I’m not so sure about the acid. I still have my copy of “The Anarchist Cookbook,” but I was never much at chemistry.

• • •

All trips, both good and bad, come to an end, sooner or later. And in May, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will break down the big top in May for the final time after 146 years.

According to The New York Times, Feld Entertainment, the producer of the circus, cited rising operating costs and falling ticket sales, a condition that worsened after Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey dropped elephants from its show last year.

CEO Kenneth Feld told The Associated Press that moving the show by rail, providing a traveling school for performers’ children and other expenses from a bygone era made carrying on a losing proposition.

“It’s a different model … we can’t see how it works in today’s world to justify and maintain an affordable ticket price,” he said.

And let’s not forget that old devil competition. There’s another, bigger circus coming to town, with a permanent base of operations in Washington, D.C., the financial support of the State, and free worldwide access via social media. Plus elephants, too!

The Greatest Show On Earth is now an angry orange clown with a Twitter account. Hur-ry, hur-ry, hur-ry. …

Oh

November 9, 2016

shit-11092016

It can happen here

November 5, 2016
Impressionist, que no? I shot it through the window. Hey, it's raining out there. You want I should get a camera wet for free?

Impressionistical, que no? I shot it through the window. Hey, it’s raining out there. You want I should get a camera wet for free?

We’ve finally gotten a little rain after the second warmest October on record, and maybe one of the driest, too; more than a quarter inch of precip’ below normal.

As with most things, this is both good and bad.

The good? When things are wet, they often fail to catch fire. Also, water is nice for drinking, bathing and growing things to look at and/or eat.

The bad? Sitting as it does at the bottom of a cul-de-sac at the western edge of a mountain range, El Rancho Pendejo is already a little on the dark side, as is my outlook most days. And when the sun goes away for a spell, things in these parts can get blacker than a sleeping MacBook’s display.

So with each fresh poll the equivalent of a cherry bomb in a chicken coop I’m getting a mild case of The Fear as the 2016 election staggers to a close.

Anybody who tells you s/he knows that all will be well in the end is full of shit to the sideburns. Americans are already pretty la-di-da about exercising their franchise, our least-difficult path toward effecting change, armed insurrection being slightly more onerous (or so I’m told). And the GOP has been busily scratching that oh-hell-why-bother itch by turning what should be the simple act of casting a ballot into the sort of customer-service experience we already enjoy in the private sector.

Here’s Charles P. Pierce on the voter-suppression battles being waged from coast to coast.

Here’s Ari Berman of The Nation on the reduction in polling places following the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s The Guardian reporting on the upshot of Insane Clown Pussy’s call for his shock troops to monitor what he’s said will be a “rigged” election.

Can't it? We'll see.

Can’t it? We’ll see.

And so on. Look around, you’ll find more examples.

The Republic has weathered a lot of storms, and this may be nothing more than an especially nasty stretch of rough weather before the sun pops out again.

But I keep thinking back to the old Red Lewis novel “It Can’t Happen Here,” which I read ages ago, and which the Berkeley Repertory Theatre turned into a play, which wraps tomorrow.

If you haven’t read the book, do so. The language is a little dated, and it can seem wildly over the top at times. But so can this election, and yet there it is, happening right before your eyes.

“It Can’t Happen Here” certainly opened the eyes belonging to writer-director Tony Taccone, who called the parallels between the fictional struggle and Election 2016 “shocking; they’re honestly shocking.”

“What it says, what it really puts out there is, if you become complacent or lazy or you think that the issues that are being discussed in Washington, the politics doesn’t have an effect on your lives, you’re wrong. You’re wrong. The decisions that are being made — by the Congress, by the Supreme Court, by the local legislature, by your city council — affect your life,” Taccone said.

“And it is in your interest to understand as best you can what those issues are, to try to find a voice and agency inside of those issues, to find a community and help them to build a dialogue,” he added. “And my God, if that isn’t the lesson of the last nine months, what is?”

So you think it can’t happen here? Read the book, take a good look around, and get back to me.

Fort Apache

October 25, 2016
Finally, a taste of actual fall weather.

Finally, a taste of actual fall weather.

I’m in Albuquerque, working on a bike review and watching it rain. Herself is bound for Mesa Verde on the next leg of her Gal Pals Getaway Tour.

And somewhere in the southern Arizona desert, the Three Percent United Patriots are making headlines, if only in Mother Jones magazine.

Anyone who has ever lived out where the hoot owls date the chickens has met at least one of these dudes. In Weirdcliffe it was the cowboy who claimed to have edibles and weaponry cached all over the Sangre de Cristos and inquired whether we would be “ready to kill” when it all went sideways and the “Mexicans” came boiling up Hardscrabble Canyon to … to … well, get the hell out of Pueblo, I suppose. And who could blame them?

I got the hell out of Pueblo. I also got the hell out of Weirdcliffe. And I’ve spent a little time in the Threepers’ AO, though I never saw one. (“If you saw them, sir, they weren’t Threepers.”)

Just once I would love to read about the lefty variation on these dudes. There has to be one, amirite? The Sedona Extremely Irregulars? The 69th Berkeley Berserkers? The 420th Humboldt County Doobie Brethren?

Or maybe that particular ship has sailed, or sunk.

Back in the Seventies, when I thought I was Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, the October League’s Denver chapter had just wrapped up another successful evening of smashing the State via withering rhetoric when a couple comrades mentioned that they used to be professional wrestlers.

“Bullshit,” someone said. And then they showed us, right there in the dark Denver alley. They were slamming each other into cars and up against walls, pounding each other with forearm smashes and trash-can lids, the works. It was entertaining as hell and absolutely nobody got hurt.

Then a window slammed open and someone advised us to shut the fuck up and we did. Shortly thereafter the revolution failed to materialize.

 

Nuts

February 11, 2016
Not exactly the Battle of the Bulge, was it? Unless you count the bulges at the portly patriots' American-flag belt buckles.

Not exactly the Battle of the Bulge, was it? Unless you count the bulges at the portly patriots’ American-flag belt buckles.

Could the Battle of the Budgies be coming to a peaceful resolution?

The Oregonian reports that the last holdouts at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are ready to give themselves up, and that their patron saint, Cliven Bundy, was snatched up in Portland and faces charges from the 2014 debacle that triggered this whole clusterfuck.

Perhaps as they continue to enjoy the hospitality of the State at another venue these small fellows can take solace from a Longfellow, translating Friedrich von Logau:

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;

Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.

 

With a bang and a whimper

January 29, 2016
We can put a man on the moon, but just you try getting four of 'em out of a bird sanctuary.

We can put a man on the moon, but just you try getting four of ’em out of a bird sanctuary.

Sounds like the Redneck Revolution is on its last legs … well, outside Burns, Oregon, anyway.

The fuzz capped LaVoy Finicum, who appears to have charged them, first in a vehicle, and then on foot. Didn’t even get to draw down on them with his bad nine, yo. And the occupying army is down to four. Like the Black Knight, they’ll be happy to call it a draw. Um, no. Not until you do the Silly Walk.

I think these guys watched too many John Wayne movies and didn’t read nearly enough books. Their only point was to be found above the eyebrows and under the Stetson. Definitely time to fire the PR guy.

Whoops. Too late.

 

Free dumb (handling charges apply)

January 27, 2016
C'mon. You just knew it was gonna end badly.

C’mon. You just knew it was gonna end badly.

Sounds like there’s an opening in the PR department at the Dildopolis National Dipshit Preserve near Burns, Oregon.

I beg your pardon. It appears that the opening is in the PR guy.

If you have a knack for misunderstanding the Constitution, a big mouth and more firearms than an African warlord, send your résumé to Al Bundy, Dildopolis National Dipshit Preserve, Princeton, OR 97721.

No pay, but plenty of free dumb.

Also, one (1) tinfoil beanie will be issued. Size small. Nicely ventilated. See quartermaster and human resources director Sid Icious.

• Late update: This just in from Minister of War Nathan Haleoimustbegoing: “Give me liberty or give me dea … uh, a few minutes to pack.”

Mutiny from stern to bow

January 3, 2016

Huh. If memory serves, when a bunch of smelly hippies, Injuns and uppity colored people tried pulling this seditious shit they got shut down right fast, shot all to be damn, jailed, and vilified for decades afterward.

Even candidates for office were derided for having “palled around” with them.

Ah, but I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now.

 

Like, wow … like, bow wow

October 28, 2015

My old man was a Republican. Onliest D he ever pulled a lever for that I know of was John Fitzgerald Kennedy, because like him JFK was a Mick and a mackerel-snapper.

But I’m starting to think that if I dug the auld fella up, and reanimated him with a shot of Edison medicine and another of Viktor’s va-va-voom-vodka, Zombie Col. Harold Joseph O’Grady would find it very challenging indeed to support any of the shower of bastards on show tonight in the People’s Republic of Boulder (where, I might add, he said I would never go to school, calling it “Hippietown, USA.”).

I think he’d sooner unload a B-24 over the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, or call Maureen O’Hara a wagon.

I mean, I’ve never seen a junkyard that was all dumb, mean dogs and no junk. Where the hell’s the junk?